Art Theft: The Many Fascinating and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an ancient and complicated crime. When you look at the a few of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations that include art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless dollars. Here you can check out about a few of the most well-known cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The first recorded case of art theft was in 1473, when two panels of altarpiece of the Last Judgment by the Dutch painter Hans Memling were taken. While the triptych was being transferred by ship from the Netherlands to Florence, the ship was attacked by pirates who took it to the Gdansk cathedral in Poland. Nowadays, the piece is shown at the National Museum in Gdansk where it was just recently moved from the Basilica of the Presumption.

The Most Famous Theft:
The most popular story of art theft involves among the most famous paintings worldwide and among the most popular artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was taken out of the Louver. Not long after, Pablo Picasso was arrested and questioned by the cops, however was released quickly.

It turned out that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by one of the museum workers by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who merely carried it hidden under his coat. The criminal activity was carefully performed by a well-known con male, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who meant to make copies and offer them as if they were the original painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy developing copies for the famous masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias apartment. Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the cops while attempting to sell the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy.

The Greatest Theft in the USA:
The most significant art theft in United States occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of thieves wearing cops uniforms broke into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose collective value was approximated at around 300 million dollars. The burglars took 2 paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of Vermeer, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, as well as a French and a Chinese artifact.

As of yet, none of the paintings have been found and the case is still unsolved. According to recent reports, the FBI are examining the possibility that the Boston Mob in addition to French art dealers are connected to the crime.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most sought after https://www.quora.com/profile/Kurt-Criter painting by art thieves in history. It has been stolen twice and was only recently recovered. In 1994, throughout the Winter Season Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was taken from an Oslo gallery by 2 burglars who broke through an open window, triggered the alarm and left a note saying: thanks for the poor security.

Three months later on, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Federal government with an deal: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Federal government turned down the deal, however the Norwegian cops worked together with the British Authorities and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that brought back the painting to where it belongs.

10 years later, The Scream was taken again from the Munch Museum. This time, the robbers utilized a weapon and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum authorities waiting on the thieves to request ransom loan, reports claimed that both paintings were burned to hide proof. Eventually, the Norwegian cops discovered the two paintings on August 31, 2006 however the facts on how they were recuperated are not known.


When you look at the some of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly prepared operations that involve art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most well-known story of art theft includes one of the most well-known paintings in the world and one of the most famous artists in history as a suspect. The criminal offense was carefully carried out by a notorious con guy, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who meant to make copies and sell them as if they were the initial painting.

Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the police while trying to offer the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most looked for after painting by art thieves in history.

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